Monday, March 20, 2006

Blinded by Science
A roughed out version of an interview with John Fang I did on Saturday. The interview will run along with the jury's verdict (they've been instructed to return a verdict of "natural death, accidental death or death my misadventure'' or an "open verdict'' which is a catch-all). Coroner/judge has said they cannot return a verdict of murder or suicide because there isn't enough evidence for either. I tend to agree with him on that, though I'm not sure about the suicide part. Anyway, due to the arcane and weird Brit press laws here no interviews with people connected with trials can be published -- or conducted -- before the trial is over.
The best part of Fang's interview if you want to fast-forward through it is how he described doing his own "scientific" test at home to prove to himself and friends why he never saw Annie's bones.

While he may not be particularly modest, John Fang is a good guy. Just ask him. He'll tell you repeatedly just as he told the coroner's inquest into 31-year-old Annie Pang's death that he's ``nice person, a generous person.''``You've told us that already,'' coroner Colin Mackintosh said at one point.
He picked up the self-promotional thread again in an interview with The Standard. ``I'm a good chump, a buddy-buddy kind of guy,'' Fang said.
His self-proclaimed generosity -- Fang admitted to depositing more than HK$58,0000 in an account set up for Pang in the name of another woman from January-July 1995 despite the fact that their physical relationship had ended long ago -- makes it hard for him to believe that others might question just exactly how he avoided seeing his old lover's bones on the floor when he went to the flat on October 6, 1999 to shut a window in response to water leakage complaints from a occupant on the floor below. A day later others tapped to go clean out the flat had no problem at all almost immediately spotting the grotesque tableaux.
Doubting Thomas's may also wonder why he never bothered to actually enter the flat until 1999 and why he seemed not to be curious about what ever became of Pang after her pleas for money stopped.
In coroner's court Fang said he was so busy avoiding injury -- and perhaps dying -- on the room's debris that he never saw Pang's remains as he scampered nimbly and quickly to close the window.
``It was very unhygenic and like an obstacle course and I remember climbing over something to get the window closed,'' Fang said.Out of court he said he even conducted a home-test.``I now have a better version,'' Fang said. ``This is it. This is scientific. I had people with stop watch with me at my home. I measured this equivalent distance and ran in, shut a window and then came back and said `stop!''
No skeleton or skeleton model was used, he said, but he swore that if anyone -- including Pang's survivors -- tries it in the privacy of their abode using a stopwatch and a few friends they'll find that ``if you concentrate you will have no time to see what is on both sides of you or below you.''
Fang blamed Pang's siblings and mother for some of his bad publicity because he has rejected what he called financial ``compensation'' demanded by them.
Pang Ngor Vee, Annie's sister and the last famlily member to see her alive in April 1995, denied in an interview with The Standard with ever hitting Fang up for anything except information as to her whereabouts. He said he refused because Pang had told him she was on bad terms with her sister and mother and didn't want them to know where she was living.
``Annie never allowed me to see them when she was alive because she insinuated that her mother is very greedy and would want money from me,'' Fang claimed. ``In 2005 [a daughter] wrote me and said, `if you don't pay we'll go to the press.'''
He said he almost caved in to their alleged demands but his wife -- the same loyal woman from whom he had concealed the relationship after he met Pang when the 20-year-old aspiring model and pet shop owner drifted into a bachelor party Fang was at in 1986 -- urged him to stay the course.
``Of course my wife doesn't like it. But she is solidly behind me and does not believe I should pay them. Two sons are really grown up and very supportive too,'' he said.He said he preferred not to comment on what his famous sister, former chief secretary Anson Chan might have said.
Why did he keep giving her rent-free lodging and continue to give her money, despite the decline of their physical relationship and what he said was an increase in friction between them?Well, he's a nice guy, of course.
`` I'm not the guy who cries over spilled milk. And I help everybody, men and women, who needs it and who comes across my path. Of course maybe I'm a bit of a sucker and stupid, too. Maybe I should have reported her missing to police. I wasn't so much interested in her anymore but I never kicked her out of my life. I helped her because she's a human being and she had all kinds of problems.''
Which lead to another explanation for not seeing her remains: Annie's cosmic gratitude for his generosity.``There is a Buddhist saying that during your life if someone owed you a lot of favors that they won't ever shock you by letting you see them in skeleton form.''
"There is a Buddhist saying that during your life if someone owed you a lot of favors that they won't ever shock you by letting you see them in skeleton form."

No way. Nuh uh. He did NOT say that.

I think in certain courts up here in the Mainland that kind of statement could actually be used during the case, and would be pretty darn convincing. Perhaps if this guy's lawyer had concentrated on what a nice guy he is, this whole charade could have ended a long time ago.
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